WHEELING - Its membership having invested "nearly $10 billion" in the Mountain State, the West Virginia Oil and Natural Gas Association will bring its annual meeting to Oglebay Park's Wilson Lodge this week.
With drillers such as Chesapeake Energy, Chevron, Magnum Hunter, Stone Energy, Consol Energy, Gastar Exploration, Trans Energy and others fracking through northern West Virginia's Marcellus shale - and companies such as Williams Energy, Blue Racer Midstream and MarkWest Energy processing the natural gas these drillers send to them - association Executive Director Corky Demarco said Wheeling seemed a logical location for the 2013 meeting, which is usually held in Charleston.
Registration for the event begins at 11 a.m. today, with the conference set for a 1 p.m. start.
It continues until 4 p.m. Thursday.
Topics of discussion include safety, technology development, worker hygiene practices environmental protection and the use of independent contractors.
Both state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Randy Huffman are scheduled to speak Thursday morning.
Another key topic of discussion on the agenda is the effort of Dominion Resources to export liquefied natural gas from the Cove Point facility in Maryland.
Dominion is seeking permission from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to complete the Cove Point project in Maryland, at which the company would collect natural gas from the eastern United States. Dominion plans to liquefy, store and load the gas into ships brought to the facility on the Chesapeake Bay.
Subject to regulatory approval, the Cove Point facilities could be in service by 2017.
"LNG Exports: Cove Point on the One Yard Line" is the title of the discussion point on the meeting agenda, using the football reference to being close to the touchdown.
"Japan and India are important allies and trading partners of the United States that are in need of secure sources of natural gas ... ," said Thomas F. Farrell II, Dominion chairman, president and chief executive officer.
While the gas liquefied at Cove Point may be extracted from a variety of areas, Farrell said it will be a premier facility in terms of direct access to the Marcellus and Utica shale plays, which he described as two of the most prolific natural gas basins in North America.